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The Complete Furnace Buying Guide


When winter arrives in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, there is nothing more important than the heating system in your home. That’s why it’s essential to take the time to understand all the factors that will affect your furnace buying decision. There are a lot of options out there, and Midwest Heating & Cooling wants to make sure that you get the right furnace for your home, and your budget. There are a variety of factors that you should look into when replacing your furnace including efficiency, size, and reliability, each of which affects the amount of money you are going to spend to run your heat this winter.

Size Matters

Ensuring that the furnace is the right size for your home is essential to your overall comfort. At Midwest Heating & Cooling, we always want to make sure that your furnace’s specifications fit your needs. If your furnace is too small for your home, it won’t be able to keep your home at a comfortable, even temperature throughout. If the furnace is too large, your overall heating costs will increase significantly because you are paying for a larger square footage than you need. Additionally, a larger furnace will cycle on and off more frequently, leading to wear and tear on parts and energy inefficiency.

Another important aspect of sizing to consider is the duct work needed. A larger furnace replacement might require larger ducts, leading to a higher cost overall. Without the right size duct work, airflow can be noisy, leading to a replacement down the road. We never want you to pay for something that you don’t need, which is why we use the industry standard heat-loss calculator to determine exactly the right fit for you.

Importance of Efficiency

Currently, the most commonly used fuel source is gasoline, which is used in most central-heating systems. The efficiency of a furnace is determined by how quickly the furnace converts gas into heating energy, which is known as the AFUE rating. The higher the AFUE, the more heat the furnace can gain from each therm of gasoline. Furnaces with higher AFUE ratings also generate fewer emissions, providing a more environmentally friendly system, which may also factor into your decision.

Over the last decade, furnaces have become more energy efficient than ever. According to Consumer Reports, a gas furnace made in the early 1970s typically had an AFUE rating of about 65%. A furnace today must have a minimum AFUE rating of 78%, and many new models can achieve efficiency as high as 97%. It’s important to keep in mind that the higher the AFUE rating, the higher the cost of the furnace. However, the initial cost of the furnace can be made up in lower heating bills throughout the life of your furnace, especially in colder regions like the Midwest.

Reliability Scale

Replacing your furnace may seem like a daunting investment, but efficient furnaces today can save you up to $40 for every $100 spent on fuel compared to older models, according to Consumer Reports. In addition, today’s furnaces have greater life expectancy than models in past.

According to a report and survey conducted by Consumer Reports on furnaces between 2011 and 2016, Ruud, Trane, Carrier, and American Standard are among the more reliable natural gas furnace brands, whereas Goodman, Lennox, and Amana are among the least reliable brands. York, however, stands out as the least reliable brand overall and is not recommended by Consumer Reports.

Repair vs. Replace

If it’s not quite time to replace your furnace and you simply need a furnace repair, Midwest Heating & Cooling has you covered. However, there a few simple troubleshooting tips that you can try first:

  1. Check for a clogged air filter, which may limit the air flow
  2. Look for loose wires or thermostat malfunctions like dead batteries
  3. Inspect the fuses and check that the breakers were not tripped

If those steps don’t fix the problem, it’s probably time to call in the professionals. Our technicians at Midwest Heating & Cooling are highly trained in troubleshooting furnace problems. Depending on the issue, it may be more cost-effective to replace rather than repair, especially if the unit is more than 15 years old, and you can count on our technicians to help you determine the best option. Contact us today at (414) 704-0129!

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